Surrey County Cricket Club is sad to report the death of Jennifer Booth – one of the Club’s finest modern servants.
Her official role as Second XI scorer belied the immense contribution she made to Club life alongside her husband and fellow scorer Keith – who survives her.
The Club flag that flies over the Kia Oval has been lowered to half mast for the weekend in tribute.
Paying tribute to her this morning, Alec Stewart, Director of Cricket, said: “Jennifer and [Keith] Boothy have been a big part of the Surrey family for as long as I can remember. Past and present players will be saddened by the news of Jennifer’s passing. She went about her various roles in a meticulous manner and no job was too much for her. Our thoughts are with Boothy at this very sad time.”
Below Richard Spiller pays tribute to Jennifer’s fascinating life and rich variety of achievements.
One of Surrey cricket’s greatest partnerships came to a sad close this week with the death of Jennifer Booth.
Keith and Jennifer Booth may never have struck or bowled a delivery for the county but they scored thousands in their roles as the official recorders of the first and second teams’ fortunes over a quarter of a century.
They also combined to record many international matches together, kicking on past 150 until their joint retirement in 2017.
Just as important were their combined efforts expanding the history of Surrey cricket in print, a succession of fascinating books on great figures from the county’s past an invaluable aid to those wishing to know more about the greats and characters of the past.
Jennifer’s professional expertise in archives management – much of it for the Tate Gallery – mined priceless information and she was the official co-author on tomes about the lives of Jack Crawford and the Hayward family. It was no surprise that the Booth name was regularly among the nominations for Cricket Society/MCC book of the year award.
Keith and Jennifer met as undergraduates at Reading University in the early 1960s and were married in November 1965, Keith specialising in university administration both in this country and abroad.
Their differing duties with the first and second team meant much travelling and time spent apart in the summer but when one was scoring and the other free they would often go along in support and to help out should the need arise. Like Keith, Jennifer could be relied upon for a succinct and pithy description of the events of the day even if her view of the action – often staged at club grounds, where the facilities could be distinctly variable – was less than satisfactory. She would also wrestle with recalcitrant computers and dodgy wifi connections, which rarely if ever got the better of her.
Jennifer and Keith took enormous pleasure, in their quiet way, from being presented with honorary county caps on their retirement and, despite predicting they would take a year away from the game, were drawn back to it, enjoying the opportunity to come and go as they pleased and sit where they liked and particularly relishing a trip to Scarborough in 2018.
Jennifer had recently reached her 78th birthday.